Hewitt was a high school drop-out with no qualifications who wanted to become an academic. He always used names and identities of real-life people in his impostures. He later claimed that he had a "compulsion to teach".
Hewitt's first imposture began in 1945 when he selected a famous name from a list of university teachers and used it to apply for a position of an aerodynamic engineer. However, the name was too recognizable and he was soon exposed.
The next identity Hewitt adopted was that of Julius Ashkin, a physics professor. He applied and was accepted first into a pharmacological college in Philadelphia and the next year into teacher's college in Minnesota. When he began to gain academic fame, the real Ashkin wrote him to suggest that he stop.
Hewitt proceeded to adopt the persona of Georg Hewitt, former chief researcher of Radio Corporation of America. When he was found out, he switched to that of philosophy professor Clifford Berry.
At 1954 Hewitt was on his fifth teaching job as Dr. Kenneth Yates, an associate professor of physics at the University of New Hampshire. At that stage two other colleges had discovered that his credentials were false when they noticed that the real Kenneth Yates was currently working for an oil company. They had only removed him from the faculty and the university authorities had decided to let him leave quietly when the details leaked out.
The president of the university, Dr. Robert F. Chandler, had described Hewitt as good physicist with talent for teaching. Officially he was not fired for incompetence but because he had misrepresented his qualifications. He received support from previous and current colleagues who showered praises on him. The U.S. Atomic Energy Commission and the British Admiralty approached him.
Hewitt decided to withdraw from the public glare and at least has not been heard of since.
- The Compulsion. Time magazine. March 15, 1954
- Honest career for Ph(ony)D: brilliant hoaxer Marvin Hewitt becomes a respected engineer. Life magazine. January 21, 1957, pp. 57–82.